Insee Payong (Review)

Insee Payong

aka Proud Eagle

Directed by ???

By the 1980s and 90s, Thai film had entered a funk of low budget action fare, uninspiring plots, and studio bosses who feuded with each other, hampering the efforts of the few rays of light. It is no surprise that in the midst of all the random action films, someone would try to capitalize on the awesome action films of the 1960s and break out an Insee Daeng film. But what to do? Mitr Chaibancha is long dead. None of the new action stars had his kind of swagger. Nor could you hit them on their burner, prepaid wireless. The bigger money (as far as I can tell) was with female action stars. Thus, Insee Daeng got chick-ified!

Thai action queen Jarunee Suksawat became Rome’s long-overseas daughter, who takes up the Insee Daeng mantle to defeat and evil gang of evil guys who are doing something evil. I’m not quite sure what, but it’s evil. Evil, I tell you! Don’t worry, fellow 80s action hero Sorrapong Chatree is along for the ride, and we even have a secondary female character, a tough cop played by an actress that I sadly do not know the name of. All the violence you know and love is back, along with some other tropes such as the costume switcheroo, an evil Insee Daeng, the cops getting into huge gunfights, Insee Daeng’s real persona being friends with many cops, and Insee Daeng killing scores of people.

Jarunee Suksawat was one of the action queens of the 1980s (another is Suriwan Suriyong, two of whose films show up in the Catman films) Jarunee was dubbed an action queen despite not having the proper training (which she will readily admit!) but ended up starring in scores of action films over the years. Eventually, Thai cinema became even less profitable thanks to television and the aforementioned feuding studio bosses, leading to less movie roles. Combine this with Jarunee being sued by someone for slander, who did nothing but travel around Thailand suing her in every province until he died, causing her to waste her time defending herself constantly, and it was time for a break from film that lasted for years, until she returned recently to television dramas and shows up in the film Queens of Langkasuka.

What we also have is another Thai VCD encoded so awesomely it makes VLC kick out lots of random extra video screens that do nothing but will kill the program if I close them instead of minimizing them. Weird, but a habit of some of the shoddy VCDs (Whoever puts out the Dara Singh VCDs is also guilty of this!) My favorite part is when the end of disc one glitches and the sound gets an echo effect that doesn’t go away for ten minutes. It makes everyone sound like aliens from V (the original, not the awful remake.)

The score is now synthesizer stuff or just outright stolen (possible the synthesizer stuff is also stolen and I just don’t recognize it.) I’ll point out when the Battle of Hoth theme is used down below. I’m a little lost as the only problems with the print is overbled colors and it doesn’t look like it was dragged through a pack of wolverines on crack. But I think I can get used to it! Once again, we don’t need no stinking subtitles! For more Insee Daeng information, please see our reviews of Awasan Insee Daeng, Jao Insee, and Insee Thong.

The Girl (Jarunee Suksawat) – I don’t know her character name, so I’ll just call her Jarunee. Returns from overseas and takes up a job at the police station. Also takes up the mantle of her father, becoming…
Insee Daeng (Jarunee Suksawat) – Yes, a female Insee Daeng shows up exactly when Jarunee returns to Thailand. But that’s not suspicious at all. This Insee Daeng murders everyone who is evil with poison darts. There is more dart action in Insee Payong than in Darts, the Movie. Which isn’t a real movie. Or maybe it is…
Cop (Sorrapong Chatree) – The main cop who also goes after bad guys and has to worry about Insee Daeng cutting in on his action. Sorrapong Chatree was like “Hey, it’s the 1980s in Thailand and you’re making a film, that means I’m in it!” and just kept coming to the set each day so the producers made him the lead actor. What else could they do?
Female Cop (Marisa Udomporn) – She’s a cop, she’s a female, she’s Female Cop! Female Cop doesn’t put up with crap from rich jerks who tear up tickets and will arrest them in front of crowds. She also hates Insee Daeng and dedicates herself to catching her. I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s supposed to be Detective Chart’s daughter. But I can’t tell.

We begin as Jarunee returns home from overseas, and goes to the basement of her family home. She’s sadly looking over memorabilia including a Tae Kwon Do jacket, Filipino crest, and a shrine to Insee Daeng that she prays and lights incense at. The shrine is to the original Mitr Chaibancha Insee Daeng, cementing this as a sequel following the original continuity.

Soon Jarunee is dressed as Insee Daeng and sneaking into a bad guy lair, killing people with darts and leaving the Insee Daeng calling card for the cops. This is all familiar territory, except for the darts instead of a gun. Jarunee also has a job at the police station as some sort of secretary/assistant, attending police meetings and sitting in chairs that allow her hair to be constantly blown around by off-camera fans. Her other job is to wear fashionable 80’s outfits that just look various shades of ridiculous nowadays.

Jarunee spends most of the film sneaking into rooms with villains and murdering them with darts, then leaving her calling card. As the Thai police can’t seem to put two and two together that the recently returned daughter of the millionaire who died the same time Insee Daeng disappeared just happen to coincided with the female Insee Daeng’s emergence, nor can the Thai police be bothered to challenge every woman in Thailand to a game of darts, they are baffled.

I can’t tell just what the bad guys are accused of, but since I see one in one scene messing with a small rocking chair and doll, I will postulate that they run a counterfeit Cabbage Patch Kids ring and are resorting to murder to corner the market just in time for Christmas.

During one of Insee Daeng’s kill sprees, there is a fake Insee Daeng! Except it’s a dude! That’s not how you take over an identity! Anyway, he gets trounced like the rest of the villains. Instead of storming bad guy hideouts and gunning down dozens of baddies, the cops get into big gunfights at construction sites. We know from all sorts of low-budget action films that construction sites are where all bad people hang out. If you see a construction worker, he’s probably a mob boss who just killed your wife. The score blares the Battle of Hoth theme from The Empire Strikes Back. Sadly, no Imperial Walkers appear driven by Insee Daeng.

The middle of the film features a kidnapping by the bad guys, who enjoy tying people to railroad tracks! How very 1910 movie villain of them! Insee Daeng isn’t adverse to calling the police, even the very cops she works with, who can’t seem to identify her voice or notice she’s missing. One other difference from the old films is the gun battles now rarely show cops getting hit, it is only the bad guys who die.

Insee Daeng even does the costume change trick on a baddie to escape, which is sort of odd as she’s a chick, does that mean she had a whole purse filled with top of the line fashion and makeup hidden in her Insee Daeng duds that she whipped out for the switcheroo? And also a male Insee Daeng costume to put on the guy? It’s the only explanation.

The baddies regroup and discuss plans while wearing awful Hawaiian shirts, the new plan is to blow up a bridge. But Insee Daeng arrives and murders them all while disarming the bombs. Hooray!

The day is saved, Insee Daeng gets away, and she racked up a higher body count in this film than her old man did in all of his films!

Rated 5/10 (Eagle of red, Chief, awesome outfit, awesome outfit, awesome outfit)

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Written by Tars Tarkas

Tars Tarkas

Runs this joint!